Liverpool and Newcastle United transfer target Wilfried Zaha has been warned not to quit Crystal Palace as the highly-rated England youth international runs the risk of stunting his promising career.
Eagles winger Zaha has been linked with a move to the Premier League following a series of eye-catching performances for the Championship side, but club captain Paddy McCarthy has urged the 19-year-old not to leave Selhurst Park too soon.
Palace are on the verge of Wembley final, against either Liverpool or Manchester City, after beating Cardiff City 1-0 in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final in midweek and McCarthy said: "Wilfried is a special talent, probably the most naturally gifted individual I have come across in my career, and this is the perfect club for him at the moment.
"Every week, you see the improvement in these kids because they are being managed the right way. It would be criminal for these lads to move on too soon in their careers."
McCarthy also said Zaha, who has represented England at Under-19 level, should look to the stagnated career of John Bostock, who left the Eagles for Tottenham at the age of 16 four years ago, as a cautionary tale.
McCarthy told the Daily Mirror: "Dougie Freedman [Palace's manager] won't stand in their way if they need to move on - but he won't let them leave too early, as we have seen with the likes of John Bostock.
"I'm sure Wilfried will be with us for the second leg against Cardiff, and to stay involved in this fantastic journey we've been on."